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CHEERS! Beer and Brewing in the Past

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From 22nd to 27th May 2023 the Cambridge Beer Festival will be held after a three-year hiatus. Organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), it is the UK’s longest-running and one of the largest regional beer festivals, featuring a wide range of local and national beers of all styles.

The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and the Digital Lab, a digital engagement project at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge wish to join in with the cheerful mood of the city. As such, they are organising an interdisciplinary seminar on 23rd May 2023, which will explore beer brewing in the past.

The presentations and discussions at this half-day workshop will centre around beer, its long history, and its importance in past societies. Coffee and tea will be provided, and the workshop will conclude with lunch and a beer tasting session in the courtyard on Downing Site, sponsored by the festival’s organisers.

The workshop will be hybrid but due to limits on room capacity, attendees will be required to register.

Speakers and papers’ title:

Eva Rosenstock (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitāt Bonn) – Early Biotechnology: Beers and their Archaeological Residue.

Elisa Guerra-Doce (University de Valladolid and University of Cambridge) – What can brewing tell us about the past? Beer, Burial, and Bronze Age Europe.

Jan Turek (Charles University Prague) – Prehistoric Beer and the Gender Perspective

Jody Joy (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge) – Raising a Tankard: Beer Drinking in the British Iron Age.

Rachel Ballantyne (University of Oxford), Hannah Caroe (University of Oxford), Lara González Carretero (University of York), Rachel Fosberry (Oxford Archaeology East) – Archaeobotanical Evidence for Beer Brewing.

Phil Withington (University of Sheffield) – Beer in Early Modern England.

23rd May 2023, 9:15 – 2:00 pm

In person: McDonald Institute Seminar Room, Department of Archaeology. Please register by sending us an email at

Online: Please register via

For more information, please contact us at

This talk is part of the MAA Digital Lab series.

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